Britons in the United Kingdom consume twice as much protein than they need. They consume an average of 80kg meat and 10.2kg cheese per year.
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How much protein do you need?
This is equivalent to eating 1,400 sausages of pork and 40 blocks each of Cheddar in the UK.
America is home to a higher meat consumption, with an average American eating 125kg annually. The world’s meat production grew fivefold in the second half century.
There is no need to eat meat, or consume the amount of protein that most people consume. According to nutrition guidelines, we need 50g protein per day on average.
A single chicken breast will provide the entire amount of protein you need, so that’s enough to get you through the day. You don’t need to eat this much meat, as almost all foods have some protein, even strawberries.
The best places to buy higher welfare
You can shop directly from the farm, or go to farmers’ markets.
Farmers selling their meat will often be open to sharing stories about their animals. If they invite you to come along and have a look, that’s even better.
Local box schemes and butchers can be a good alternative if you are unable to source direct. Ask questions to learn more about the farms, and whether they are buying meat directly from the farm or from a wholesaler. They might not be able to provide much information about the animal’s rearing if they are a whole seller.
If you are careful about the labelling schemes, supermarkets can be a good source of quality meat. Organic is always my preference. Soil Association certified meat in the UK is a great choice, as it meets some of the highest standards.
Ask questions and scratch the surface of the labels. This will increase demand for higher quality meat.
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It pays to spend more
High welfare meat is more healthy, especially when the animals get plenty of exercise, sunlight, and eat their natural diet. For example, a 6oz (175g), steak from a grassfed cow can contain 100 more calories than if it were to be prepared from grain.
Outdoor chicken meat can contain up to 50% more vitamin B and 100% more omega-3 fats if it is fed grass.
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Maximizing the value of the meat that you purchase
A shocking amount of food, including meat, is wasted. You will be more likely to buy high-quality meat if it has more nutrients and less fat.
Okinawa, Japan, has the highest life expectancy in the world. The primary cooking fat for Okinawa residents is pork lard from outdoor-raised animals. You actually digest meat fats, so it is worth paying more to get the best of everything.
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Making small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference.
You can have a big impact on not only the well-being and health of farmed animals but also your own health by choosing meat with higher welfare and asking about its origins when you shop.